Communion & Liberation: March 2010 Archives

In the School of Community Sunday evening --the weekly catechetical meeting for members & friends of Communion & Liberation-- we discussed Traces' April editorial, "Greater than Sin." The editorial is an attempt to put words to an experience and to remind ourselves of the workings of grace and sin.

The more I look I these accusations of sexual misconduct and other sinful behavior by priests (and even the laity), I am inclined to say that it's more than a question of homosexual priests or affectively retarded individuals who have had positions of pastoral authority in the Church, and much to do with our faith in Christ as the answer to limited humanity. In other words, there has been a significant lack of faith in the Incarnation and Christ as the answer to my nothingness. For some, this assessment makes no sense because if you are ordained a priest or a vowed religious, one expects that you would have an intimate experience of the workings of God and His love. BUT this can't always be assumed. The more I sit with the problem I am curious to know the depth of relationship with God existed with those who committed these sexual crimes and the church leaders who had oversight. Could it be that those who abused children or scandalized the faithful in other ways didn't have a living faith in Christ who is alive today, right now? Could it be that for some of these people God is dead in the conscience? More questions surfaced than I have answers for. For example:

Are we certain about the Catholic faith we are living? Are certain about what we are saying?

What has been happening with the sexual abuse crisis is the direct result of a lack of certainty of faith in Christ. We the Church, laity and clergy, have demonstrated a real lack of faith in the saving promises of Christ than in the offer of communion with Him. Our sense seems to indicate that the hundredfold Christ speaks of is a complete fabrication.

Key to understanding our Catholic way of living is that we have a different standard of measuring things: justice, mercy, forgiveness, love are the measures. Priesthood is a total, permanent change in a man's being, a permanent change in character, not a career, not something temporary, not something magical, not something esoteric; the priesthood means being configured to Christ in a permanent way.

In our discussions we asked the Christological question: who is Christ and how does Christ act in my and how do I know Him. Do we believe Christ is for all people? Do we believe Christ is alive right now, in front of us, in the person next to us? Is Christ recognizable? Do we believe that Christ redeemed us through his death and resurrection?

The question of forgiveness surfaced in our School of Community based on the fact that Christ tells us to forgive and He himself is the pattern of reconciliation. Is forgiveness possible? Is it possible to live in an attitude of forgiveness? Is forgiveness familiar to me (us)? Do we have an experience of forgiveness? Can we hold that what we believe as true --Jesus Christ-- is for everyone?

The we dealt with the problem that for many people it is impossible to accept the Church as a mother who cares for her children, educates her children, who disciplines her children but doesn't throw the problem child under the bus. The Church's maternity seems not only to be less understood today if not completely rejected by many of the faithful and the media. Maternity is reduced to giving birth and completely neglecting the moral motherhood. The Church, since Christ founded her, has neither said nor indicated that she was a perfect mother. She is divinely instituted but populated by sinners trying to be holy and at times missing the mark. The Church like the rest of the world is daily pursuing justification in Lord's cross and resurrection.

The attacks the whole Body of Christ --the Church-- is facing these days attempts to pervert people's faith and confidence in the Church and therefore to prevent the Church from caring for all her children --the victims, the perpetrators, bystanders, etc.

An answer to some these questions is 'yes' if we know that only with Christ is forgiveness, conversion possible.

We need to understand ourselves in action, in concrete ways, in the ways in which Providence has deemed to give us the grace to live...otherwise we live in the abstract and God, therefore has no real bearing on our life.

Beautiful words don't save us, Jesus does, who is alive right now.

So, I think the Pope is correct in recommending a spiritual renewal program (see the Letter to Ireland) to regain, or just to establish for the first time a real relationship with the Christ. His aim is to ask the question, do you know Christ? if so, do you know how to live according to the pattern of Christ's sacrificial love?

No Catholic should be surprised that there is filth in the Church for Our Lord Himself told us that this would be so in the parable of the weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). AND it's no surprise that the Church is full of sinners, sinners who commit grave sin.  And yes, some who claim to follow Christ commit evil and everything possible must be done to stem the evil and to make amends for that pain generated by that evil.

Furthermore, no Catholic should be surprised that the Faith should once again be attacked during Easter because this is an annual event.  However, this year's annual Easter attack on the Faith has taken the form of one upon the person of the Pope, Benedict XVI, himself.

What truly saddens me, however, is that there are many within the Church herself, those who should know better, that are once again attempting to create a Christianity without Christ.  But if we forget Christ, if we do away with the wholly different measure that He introduces into the world now, through the Church, then we no longer have the terms on which to judge the Church.

St Peter Lepori.jpg

Ignatius Press recently published a new book on Saint Peter called, Simon, Called Peter: In the Company of a Man in Search of God by a Cistercian Abbot with roots in Communion and Liberation, Dom Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori, O.Cist.

Dom Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori, O.Cist. writes of his book: "At every stage of my life as a man, a Christian, a monk, an abbot, I have found Saint Peter to be a companion to walk ahead of me... Peter is the Gospel saint who is more 'us' than any other, closer to our own humanity, yet so close to Christ. Peter is the one we can always follow."

What others have said

You are carried into the events narrated here... and you see them with your own eyes and heart, more than if you had been there.

from the Foreword by Cardinal Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Venice

Dom Lepori's account of Peter reminds us of just how often this first of the Apostles appears in the Gospels. When we see Peter spelled out in his encounters with Christ, we realize that this 'Rock' is being formed, but also that he was someone who could be formed. It is not without interest that the Church is founded on Peter, a solid man, yet also a sinner. With Lepori's guidance, we realize that Peter's life is a portrait of how God deals with men. We cannot but be moved by this Peter, a man like unto us, sin included, but a brave man who acknowledges, who learns, who, in the end, is 'the Rock' that he was called to be from the first time Christ saw him.

James V. Schall, SJ, Author, The Order of Things

About the author

Dom Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori, O. Cist., is the abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Hauterive outside of Fribourg, Switzerland. He received his licentiate in philosophy and theology from the Catholic University of Fribourg and as a layman was an active member of Communion and Liberation. In 1984, he entered the Abbey of Hauterive and ten years later was elected abbot. Written originally in Italian, Simon Called Peter has been translated into both French and German. Other works by Lepori include L'amato presente.

An interview with Dom Mauro-Giuseppe at the Rimini Meeting.

A brief essay by Dom Mauro called "The Re-Creation Brought about by Christ," published in Traces.

The Secretariat of State of the Holy See has asked me to convey the following message:

Way of the Cross 2010.jpg
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI sends greetings and the assurance of closeness in prayer to all attending the Good Friday Stations of the Cross organized by Communion and Liberation in New York City and in the other cities throughout the United States. It is his hope that by accompanying the Redeemer along the path leading to calvary they will draw ever closer to Him in His loving obedience to the Father's Will and His redemptive solidarity with suffering humanity, and be led to deeper conversion, more fervent faith and generous commitment to the spread of God's kingdom of reconciliation, justice and peace. Commending all present to the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Holy Father cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of Easter joy and hope.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State

With prayerful good wishes, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop Pietro Sambi Apostolic Nuncio


There is a plenary indulgence granted to the faithful who

1. devoutly assist at the adoration of the Cross in the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday; or

2. personally make the pious Way of the Cross, or devoutly unite themselves to the Way of the Cross while it is being led by the Supreme Pontiff and broadcast live on television or radio.

Around the world in past 2 weeks Communion and Liberation's Schools of Community have been praying for the good of Communion and Liberation while remembering the 5th anniversary of death of Monsignor Luigi Giussani. In the Archdiocese of Ottawa last Monday (February 22) Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ celebrated Mass for CL-Ottawa and here is a portion of his homily. One of the touching points in His Grace's homily is the phrase, "to follow Christ." The same phrase I used for my coat of arms; see above.

Five years ago today, Don Luigi Giussani, the founder of a movement that came to be known as Communion and Liberation was called home to God by the Lord Jesus Christ. Cardinal Ratzinger, our present pope was sent by Pope John Paul II as his legate to the funeral ceremony in Milan. On that occasion, he testified to the way in which Don Giussani had allowed himself to be led by Christ in a loving relationship from his earliest years, just as Peter had from the moment of his first encounter with Jesus: "This love affair with Christ, this love story which is the whole of his life, was however far from every superficial enthusiasm, from every vague romanticism. Really seeing Christ, he knew that to encounter Christ means to follow Christ. This encounter is a road, a journey, a journey that passes also-as we heard in the psalm-through the 'valley of darkness.' In the Gospel, we heard of the last darkness of Christ's suffering, of the apparent absence of God, when the world's Sun was eclipsed. He knew that to follow is to pass through a 'valley of darkness,' to take the way of the cross, and to live all the same in true joy."

St. Francis Xavier expressed this in a lovely poem, "O Deus, Ego Amo Te," translated touchingly by his brother Jesuit, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins: 

O GOD, I love thee, I love thee-

Not out of hope of heaven for me

Nor fearing not to love and be

In the everlasting burning.

Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me

Didst reach thine arms out dying,

For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance,

Mocked and marred countenance,

Sorrows passing number,

Sweat and care and cumber,

Yea and death, and this for me,

And thou couldst see me sinning:

Then I, why should not I love thee,

Jesu, so much in love with me?

Not for heaven's sake;

not to be out of hell by loving thee;

Not for any gains I see;

But just the way that thou didst me

I do love and I will love thee:

What must I love thee, Lord, for then?

For being my king and God. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Communion & Liberation category from March 2010.

Communion & Liberation: February 2010 is the previous archive.

Communion & Liberation: April 2010 is the next archive.

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